Below I've loosely translates more portions from the most interesting 'Russian Newsweek' article I mentioned in my previous blog.
In October 2008 Putin accommodated Tymoshenko's demands when they both signed a joint gas memorandum in Moscow. She returned to Kyiv full of success.
A source in the [Russian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained to 'Russian Newsweek' that by the end of December last year gas contracts for delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine were all drawn up and ready to go. These were practically the same contracts that were signed on January 19th 2009 to end this winter's gas crisis...
But at the end of December Tymoshenko told Putin during telephone conversation that Yushchenko should have the last word on the new gas deal. Putin had called her on December 30th proposing the same terms agreed in October, i.e. transition to a formula for calculating the price of gas, the mean annual price for 2009 to be $250 per tcm ($235 if gas were to be taken away gas from"Rosukrenergo"), and a preferential transit rate for Russian gas over Ukrainian territory.
Both Tymoshenko and Gazprom now declare that the negotiations were disrupted by RosUkrEnergo, who offered Gazprom a higher price of $285 per tcm, but Gazprom apparently turned this down. This prompted Yushchenko to recall the 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' delegation from Moscow, and Putin, without naming Yushchenko by name, accused the Ukrainian authorities of corruption.
But some 'Russian Newsweek' sources do not support this version of events. They claim that on December 31st it was Tymoshenko herself who broken off the negotiations.
According to their source in the Kremlin, she called Putin and told him that she could not come to Moscow because "Yushchenko would not let her return home, or would arrest her".
Other source familiar with events adds that an infuriated Putin began to break off the negotiations himself. He called head of Gazprom Alexey Miller to tell him that the head 'Naftohaz', Oleh Dubyna, was not mandated by Yushchenko, and until Yushchenko confirmed his mandate no negotiations could take place. On 31st December at 9.30 p.m. Dubyna flew back to Kyiv. "They launched a war against Yushchenko", concluded the Kremlin official.
Ukrainian political adviser Dmytro Vydrin indirectly confirms this. Yushchenko, he says, could not prevent Tymoshenko's visit to Moscow.
Gazprom stopped delivery of gas for Ukraine. Ukraine, in order to provide transit of gas to Europe, began siphoning off 'technical gas' and European consumers immediately started to experience shortages. The Europeans understood that they had to get involved.
At this moment, but before a full termination of gas shipments, Putin ostensibly let prime minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek, who is currently president of the European Union, know that he would be able to achieve agreement with Tymoshenko if the European Union applied sufficient pressure on Yushchenko.
Topolanek refused, and the situation became deadlocked. Gas transit was stopped completely, and the chairman of European Commission, Manuel Barroso, started to put the squeeze on Yushchenko. According to some sources, on January 16th, Putin secretly met with Tymoshenko in Dresden, and there they came to an agreement. Within three days all the official contracts had been signed. Tymoshenko again returned to Kyiv a winner, and Yushchenko's political prospects became even dimmer.